Partnership Clinic: Building Partnerships and Collaborations

Partnership Clinic: Building Partnerships and Collaborations 29 th and 30 th April 2014, New Delhi Hosted by: Engineering Projects (India) Limited (A Government of India Enterprise)


Partnership Clinic: Building Partnerships and Collaborations

Transcript of Partnership Clinic: Building Partnerships and Collaborations

Page 1: Partnership Clinic: Building Partnerships and Collaborations

Partnership Clinic: Building Partnerships and Collaborations

29th and 30th April 2014, New Delhi

Hosted by: Engineering Projects (India) Limited

(A Government of India Enterprise)

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction

a. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

b. Post 2015 Development Agenda

c. The CEO Water Mandate

d. India Collaboration Lab

e. UNGC-The Partnering Initiative Partnership

f. Partnership Clinic

II. Partnership Clinic: Day 1: A Common Language

a. Effective Co-working and Collaborative Problem-Solving

b. Principles of Partnership

c. Harnessing Diversity

d. Partnering Cycle and Barriers to Success

III. Partnership Clinic - Day 2: Sharing Challenges and Solutions

a. Participant workshop objectives and partnering needs

b. Challenges and Enablers

c. Partnership Experiences and Best-Practices

IV. Recommendations and Way Forward

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I. Introduction

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Prior to the 2015 deadline on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set at the

Millennium Summit in 2000, progress is noticeable, globally, on several targets, namely:

poverty1, gender equality, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, and providing access to safe

drinking water.2 However, reducing hunger, child and maternal mortality rates, and providing

access to sanitation, among other sub-goals are crucial to progress on human development.

In India, while sustained efforts are needed to meet hunger, water, hygiene and sanitation

targets, progress is noticeable in the areas of poverty3 reduction, child and maternal health,

HIV/AIDS and polio, and gender equality. India has also taken a lead, among developing

countries, by incorporating principles of sustainable development in country policies and

programs. And private sector engagement has been critical in ensuring that the benefits of

information, communications and technologies reach across communities in India.

In this context, MDG 8: Develop Global Partnership for Development enables

stakeholders to collaborate and accelerate efforts on human development goals by bringing

large-scale solutions across communities in India. To that end, a High-level Panel of

Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda set up by UN Secretary General,

Ban Ki-moon, recommended that multi-stakeholder partnerships be focused around women,

youth, aged, disabled and indigenous peoples who are affected by poverty and exclusion.

Post-2015 Development Agenda

To frame the Post-2015 Development Agenda, an open consultation process had been setup

by the United Nations to seek views and feedback from all stakeholders, businesses and

corporations, governments and civil society through online surveys, workshops, and one-on-

one meetings. Findings of these consultations have been presented in the report, titled, “A

Million Voices: The World We Want – a sustainable future with dignity for all.”

The CEO Water Mandate

The CEO Water Mandate was launched by the UN Secretary-General in July 2007 as a

unique public-private initiative to achieve the following objectives:

Assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water

sustainability policies and practices

Engage the private sector to work with CSOs and government on providing resources

and technical expertise

At the India level, the 11th

working Conference on Corporate Water Stewardship and Post-

2015 Development Agenda was convened, in partnership with the UN Global Compact

1 According to the End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign, poverty rates have dropped from 47% to 22%, as

of 2010, despite population growth. However, 850 million people still continue to live in poverty across the

globe. 2 Source: End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign. .

stories/mdg-1-end-hunger/ 3 Source: Business Standard, October 30

th, 2013 “India may not fully achieve MDGs by 2015: Report”

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(UNGC) and Global Compact Network India (GCNI), in March 2013 to seek formal inputs

and explore the role of businesses and corporations in advancing policy objectives around:

Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services

Improved water resources management and governance and efficient water use; and

Reducing pollution

In addition to sharing ideas to advance the Post-2015 Development agenda, these

consultations gave rise to the India Collaboration Lab—a platform where stakeholders can

commit and act on WASH issues4.

India Collaboration Lab (ICL)

The inaugural India Collaboration Lab aimed to convene social entrepreneurs, NGOs,

corporations, investors and policy-makers in an action-oriented two day session from 22-23

October 2013 to identify and design initiatives to scale innovations that increase the access to

quality water and sanitation services in India. This platform enables public and private

institutions to commit to Post-2015 Development Agenda, specifically on WASH issues; and

turn these commitments into actions.

Following the ICL, a special monthly meeting was organised on 19th

December 2013 to gain

perspectives on strategic engagement and collaborations from stakeholders. This meeting

enabled GCNI and TPI to design workshop on partnerships and collaborations, based on

discussions, feedback and recommendations provided by members.

UNGC-The Partnering Initiative (TPI) Partnership

In light of MDG 8, and in recognition of the challenges of 'walking the partnering talk', the

UN Global Compact Head office in New York has been working for one and half years with

The Partnering Initiative to improve and scale up partnerships as vehicles for delivering

effective change.

Within this context, Global Compact Network India is collaborating with TPI Associate

Joanna Pyres (based in India) to better understand the Indian national partnering landscape

and identify enablers and barriers to mobilising effective and transformational development


Partnership Clinic

Partnership Clinic Design: GCNI conducted a number of discussions with members and

TPI between October and December 2013 to determine best approaches to reach out to GCNI

members with the partnering tools, information and support provided by TPI. A specialised

two--part workshop titled “Partnership Clinic” was designed to bring people together to

exchange and learn more about how to build partnerships and collaborations.

4 India struggles hard to overcome its water, hygiene and sanitation issues. Although it has shown positive

results, the progress is painfully slow. 41% of world’s poor still live below USD 2 a day, only 25% of Indian

households have access to quality drinking water at home (through pipelines) with 128 million lack access to

safe water, 21% of communicable diseases are due to unsafe water. Diarrhea alone causes 1600 deaths daily.

839 million have no sanitation services.

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The objectives of the workshop were to: (1) bring together multiple stakeholders to share and

deepen their understanding of and challenges around cross-sector partnerships; (2) to identify

supportive interventions and next steps for effective implementation of partnerships to

advance development outcomes in the Indian context and (3) to initiate a process of co-

operative support between partnership practitioners from all sectors.

The first part was 3 hours post-lunch interactive lecture for a wide audience on what has been

learned about partnering from international experiences. The following day participants met

for a more intimate 4.5 hour interactive workshop where they problem-solved each others’

actual partnering challenges in India, specifically focussed on partnership set-up.

Dr. Uddesh Kohli, Senior Adviser at United Nations Global Compact, Mr. Rajib Debnath,

Executive Director at Grant Thorton LLP, and Mr. Anand Singh Bawa, Senior Advisor—

External Affairs, Mercedes Benz India, were among the 65 members who attended the

interactive workshop. Some of the major organisations represented include ACC Limited,

Accenture, Tata Teleservices, Vedanta, Aid-et-Action, Plan India, FICCI, TARA, Tata

Consultancy Services (TCS), Transparency International, United Nations Volunteers and

World Food Program.

This report builds on both the content and materials provided by The Partnering Initiative for

the workshop as well as contributions from participants, to build an emerging understanding

of the multi-stakeholder partnering landscape in India. Those interested in participating in

this ongoing enquiry may contact GCNI to register interest.

II. DAY 1: Awareness Seminar: 29th

April 2014, 2.30pm-5.30pm

On the first day, the discussions were geared towards understanding challenges in the Indian

development sector and the approaches adopted by stakeholders to address those

challenges—and whether those approaches deliver sustainable impact. Members companies

debated about the impact Companies Act 2013 will have on the development sector and how

partnerships create measureable impacts, both in terms of quantitative and qualitative factors.

From a substantive perspective, the workshop covered the following areas:

The need for effective co-working and collaborative problem-solving

As we collectively share a pool of resources, talents, assets, technologies and networks, our

collective efforts can help solve some of the basic human development challenges. This

session focused on partnership as a tool to arrive at viable sustainable development solutions.

Realizing that the way we currently do business is destroying the planet, using resources

inefficiently, and embedding inequalities within societies. As individuals and institutions in

partnerships, therefore, the need is to develop solutions that create a fair and sustainable

world, based on shared interests.5

5 Some of those shared interests include: (1) Building a sound economy (2) Healthy and educated workforce (3)

Healthy environment (4) political stability (5) accountability in government (6) active civil society

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Shared Benefits

An emerging thought out of this session is that needs-based partnerships may be formed

where all parties win. However, it is a step-by-step approach where all parties have to build

on effective communication, mutual understanding and dependencies and being accountable

to each other. It is important to note, however, that a systematic and measured approach can

yield long-term benefits.

Members noted that partnership with the government is more transactional whereas at the

community level, it is more of relationship building proposition. It was also noted that

partnerships in the last 20 years have worked on vendor-vendee based where the relationship

is purely transactional. However, in the context of the current Companies Act 2013, some

members feel, that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is going to perpetuate the

transactional approach because it is compliance oriented where institutions are mandated to

spend 2% of the Profit After Tax (PAT) to address development issues mentioned in

Schedule VII of the law.

Besides sharing risks and costs, partners are able to improve operational efficiency, resources

and expertise. Other benefits of the partnership include:

Human capital development and learning

Ability to influence policymakers from an evidence-based point-of-view

Collective action with efficient use of resources to address a development goal

Help build legitimacy, reputation and credibility

For successful partnerships to achieve impact and scale, partners may build on shared goals

and diverse interests to leverage skills and resources effectively, based on their knowledge,

perspectives, experiences and understanding. In the process, adopting a research and

development based approach will allow partners to test drive solutions and receive critical

feedback through open communication mechanism and dialogue process for efficiency.

To that end, all parties involved in the process of partnering may clearly and openly agree

and communicate their value-based systems, propositions, and principles for effective


Principles of partnerships

Partnership for sustainable development is about developing innovative ways of working

together where relationships are not entirely transactional, but rather, are based on values,

principles, shared interests and objectives—which yield long-lasting benefits. The term

“partnerships” is used loosely across sectors to describe a variety of collaboration types such

as, networks, joint ventures, and coalitions amongst others. Partnerships are a specific form

of collaboration based on co-delivering a shared project over time.

While the partnering process is a "science" where parties need objectivity, a focus on critical

analysis, measurement, technical knowledge, and understanding the history is crucial. It is

also an “art” where parties need to be visionary in their approach, good at maintaining

relationships and sensing situations. It requires a people’s based approach to incorporate

emotions and feelings and people’s skills because partnering between organisations happens

through people.

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From a value-based point-of-view, equity-based partnerships, for example, helps build

respect and mitigate the destructive influence that power imbalances can have in partnerships.

Transparency and open communication helps each stakeholder understand organisational

priorities, strategic agendas, and silent issues while building trust.

Within that context, it is important for partners to understand the nuanced implications of

partnerships which is an evolving process. Other factors are:

Identifying partners: Stakeholders may identify needs before entering any kind of

collaboration and align appropriate partners

Communication and engagement: Nurture the relationship. All parties should be

engaged in the consultative and decision-making process while adding value to

internal and external processes. After forming the partnership, all partners may aim

for excellence in building the relationship by actively spending time, engaging and

communicating opportunities and challenges

Accountability: All stakeholders are equally accountable to each other’s

motivations, communications and actions

Enabling a learning environment: Partners may create an enabling environment to

learn from each other while co-creating. This also includes building a mechanism to

monitor and evaluate progress and outcomes

Harnessing Diversity

This session focused on harnessing diversity and explored perspectives and approaches each

stakeholder employs in the partnering process, based on different drivers, resource constraints

and experiences. Towards this, it is important to leverage value from each and all

stakeholders. Furthermore, the session looked in to the benefits and challenges of various

sectors like the donor community, public sector and the private sector, in addition to, what

will work in favour of the partnership and what will work against the partnership.

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Table 1: Stakeholder Contribution

Resources Public sector Private sector and


Bilateral and donor


Civil society and NGOs Academic institutions

Human and



Access to human

resources and


communities at the

local level,

contributing financial


Access to financial and

human resources (e.g. IT,

innovation, knowledge,

customer base)

Access to political

networks and


technical experts

Access to local communities

and specialized knowledge

around culture, language,

history, traditions, inter-

community relations, and

mobilizing communities at

the local level

Access to trained experts

and infrastructure

facilities like research labs

Strategic and



Providing strategic

guidance, policy and


framework, technical

advice and


Provide framework,

guidelines, and specialized

networks. Brand value.

Provide brand value,

mandates, and


Expertise to advise private

sector organizations to

effectively implement

Corporate Social

Responsibility (CSR) goals

Provide access to research

and technical knowledge

Policy support

and enabling


Creating an enabling

environment and

playing the role of a

facilitator to forge


Provide in-kind

contributions (E.g. business

management, project

management) policy

recommendations, and

economic viability

Knowledge and

experience to shape



Ability to feed-in inputs from

the grassroots level and

advocate for better policies

on development issues

Creating knowledge to

formulate policies,

regulations and

recommendations to

create an enabling






Providing democratic

legitimacy and in-

kind support in the

form of lands,

buildings, office


Enhance marketing, brand

value, and accountability

Bring legitimacy,

credibility, trust and

ground level presence

Provide accountability,

legitimacy, and credibility

Monitor and review goals

from a third party to bring

in accountability,

legitimacy, and credibility

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Partnering cycle and barriers to success

The session on partnering cycle and barriers to success studied partnership cycle, frameworks

and models for stakeholders to form partnerships. The process includes: scoping, identifying,

building, planning, structuring, mobilizing, delivering, measuring, reviewing, and revising.

Scoping and building: Phase I entails exploring and mapping issues and

stakeholders. In the identification phase, partners may work towards building a

common vision and establishing ground rules, mutual understanding and trust; and

brainstorming activities to facilitate a process whereby an Memorandum of

Understanding (MoU) can be agreed to.

Managing and maintaining (Implementation): Phase II involves partners

structuring the partnership, mobilizing resources to manage and maintain the

partnership and deliver impact. As a direct outcome of this hands-on approach,

partners are helping build knowledge, skills, and abilities of their staff.

Reviewing and revising: In the implementation phase, partners may work together

to measure and review impact and revise strategies and plans for effective

implementation. In this phase, partners may develop both qualitative and quantitative

impact parameters and criteria, to measure and assess their performance. It may also

include conversations around value-additions, converting challenges into

opportunities, re-defining and understanding values, structure, interests and benefits.

Sustaining outcomes: To sustain long-term outcomes, all partners may build on their

communications and engagement by sharing knowledge and information for further


Members further explored barriers and challenges to implementation and the decision-making

process. Group discussions revealed that the right partnerships work and deliver results if

there is adequate engagement and buy-in from all stakeholders, particularly the local

community, and that the partnership is strategically important.

Specifically, in an interactive fashion, members shared views on the various approaches on

corporate-NGO partnerships, access to funding, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms,

budgeting and managing large-scale partnerships on a country level.

Group members identified factors behind failing partnerships like incompatible cultures,

working styles and personalities, undelivered promises and commitments, communication

breakdown, weak governance, and undelivered promises among others.

III. Day 2 (half-day) Interactive Workshop Troubleshooting Phase 1 (early stage)

partnership challenges: 30th

April 2014, 9.30am-2.00pm

The second day was conceived to draw on participant's experience to direct learning. After a

refresher on the Partnering cycle framework, participants identified objectives for attending

the Clinic as:

Engagement and Communication:

o Examine how partnerships between businesses and corporations, academic

institutions, governments, NGOs and the local communities can be formed for

sustainable human development in a holistic manner where all parties benefit,

from a long-term perspective

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o Linking networks and stakeholders around Corporate Social Responsibility


o Understanding the role of social media in building partnerships

Knowledge Management:

o Learn and share knowledge, best practices and tri-sector partnerships around

CSR and sustainable human development

o Study successful partnership frameworks and models that are currently

operating outside of and can be replicated in India

o Learn and apply knowledge gained for resource mobilization purposes

Challenges to partnering

A significant focus was placed on group discussions among participants to identify

challenges on the four aspects of the partnership cycles. Members identified the following

challenges related to the four aspects of the partnership cycle:

Scoping and Researching issues and


Difficulties in obtaining access to


Geographical restrictions

Needs-based issues and baseline tools

Over presentation of NGOs

Understanding the realities and

stakeholders perspectives

Identifying and selecting partners

Common approach to identify and

achieve objectives

Getting loaded with expectations

Lack of preparation leads to

inappropriate/irrelevant questioning

Funding is dependent on NGOs

networking capacities


Fulfilling time deadlines and strict or

rigid rules

Issue in building trust among

stakeholders due to financial, budgetary

or other issues which impacts quality

human capital

Financial and budget constraints,

utilisation, administrative expenses


Placing emphasis on quantity vs. Quality

Lack of appreciation for ideas

Wastage of time and resources

No support for building core



Evaluation capacity

Sustainability of the partnership and the


Lack of innovative planning

High expectations from funding partners

Importance of family—take a family

centric approach

Partnership experiences and best practices from the group

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In this session, the group identified best practices around engagement, communication, and

knowledge management to mitigate risks and address short and long term challenges.

Establish trust, honesty and understanding: A level of trust is established – and

other partnering principles (e.g., equity, transparency and mutual benefit) are evident

Communicate Clearly:

o Engage and communicate: Engage in a dialogue or communicate regularly

and openly about your needs, interests, goals and challenges in the partnership

o Conduct informal meetings: Conduct informal meetings and lunches or

coffees with your partners to build on trust

o Feedback: Provide valuable and constructive feedback about the partnership,

its objectives and goals, opportunities and challenges, and performance and

results. Learn from mistakes

Coordinate locally:

o Coordinate locally: Coordination always has to happen at the local level. To

that end, information may be communicated throughout the chain at the local

level so that coordination at the local levels can take place. One of the

feedback received is that corporates need to build relations at the local level to

ensure sustainability, rather than, remain focused on marketing

Adopt a collaborative approach to partnership: Understand partnership goals and

help each partner meet those goals in a collaborative fashion. Focus on solutions:

Think of problems and challenges as opportunities in the partnership. And find

innovative solutions or alternatives to those opportunities

Consistently demonstrate results: Further to this, members and Joanna Pyres,

facilitator of the workshop, highlighted the need to build communication and

coordination mechanisms across various levels in the organisation. For example,

strategic partnerships and development projects are agreed to at the strategic level, but

those projects often face implementation challenges and fail due to trust deficit and

information asymmetry

IV. Recommendations and Moving Forward

While the workshop was designed to assist members to think about partnership related issues,

member feedback and recommendations were centered on understanding, building and

strengthening partnerships. Some of the specifics include:

Understand stakeholders: Better understanding needs, expectations and interests of

stakeholders will help bring long-term solutions to challenges. To that end, it would

be important to understand how each stakeholder understands CSR

Intra-organisation partnerships: This session helped members to think about

building intra-organisation partnerships and influence, explore and incorporate

partnership and collaboration aspects within the organisational culture and practice

Build partnerships: Aim to build partnerships on a non-monetary basis for

sustaining a project on a long-term basis

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Partnerships Forum: Leverage GCNI members from CSOs, corporates, NGOs,

academia and provide a platform for each of the stakeholders to interact and continue

to work on partnerships

Knowledge Sharing and Management: Share case studies, insights and best

practices of the workshop within the organisation. To that end, field level experiences

and stories would be helpful from the facilitator to link theory to practice.

Representation from the corporate and government representation: Corporate

representation would be helpful to understand stakeholder interests and concerns in

the developmental sector. Corporate-NGO relationship is more focused on generating

business, rather than sharing costs. Since, discussions were focused on corporate-

NGO partnerships; an additional focus on coordinating policies with the government

would have been helpful.

Public Policies and CSR: Better understand CSR policies, government schemes and

policies, and civil societies and other common platforms.

Moving Forward

Mr. Pooran Chandra Pandey, Executive Director of Global Compact Network India noted on

the need to build effective networks among stakeholders, based on trust, openness, and

transparency. As an outcome of the workshop, he further shared GCNI objectives and vision

and a plan around forming partnerships to collectively address Post-2015 development

agenda. The action items include:

1. Knowledge Sharing and Management:

a. Disseminate brief on Partnership Clinic

b. E-group for immediate co-support and dialogue

c. Knowledge sessions with member companies and stakeholders to share best

practices on partnerships and collaborations

2. Members Consultation: Consultation process with member companies and

institutions on partnerships related opportunities and challenges

3. Advance India Collaboration Lab 2014

a. Outreach: Conduct outreach to multiple stakeholders in the health and

WASH areas for partnership developments

b. Research: Disseminate compendium of good practices on development

partnerships to shape behaviours and actions at the national and global levels

c. Reporting: Publish year one report on India Collaboration Lab 2013

d. Advocacy: CEO Roundtable to deliberate on upcoming India Collaboration

Lab 2014